The school system is degrading student’s mentality by limiting them to be less creative. This is leading to the over-prescription and misdiagnosis of ADHD in adolescents and creates the possibility for later neurological problems later on in life. The shift in students stress levels between grades can be related to the amount of prescriptions and the diagnosis of children. According to the CDC, an estimated 6.1 million children between the ages of 2-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD. Between the ages 2-5, there is an approximate 388,000 that have been diagnosed with ADHD compared to the 6-11 year olds of which a shocking 2.4 million have been diagnosed (CDC). Most preschools start accepting children at around the age of 2 and most kindergartens start with children aged 5-6. From then on, these children are being forced through the school system where they are constantly being crammed with more and more information until they reach third grade (8-9 years) where they start doing standardized testing.
As stated by Sir Ken Robinson, a speaker in the Ted Talks on school’s isolation of children’s creativity, the school system runs on a factory ideal that only differentiates students by their manufacturing date. This makes room for speculation on whether the school system is actually helping students benefit or not. In order to be able to understand whether school is the problem with the way adolescents are being prescribed with ADHD medication, the symptoms of ADHD need to be understood. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is a mental condition that affects a person’s ability to maintain their focus on tasks and in more advanced stages can show signs of aggression. Some of the most prominent symptoms of ADHD include impulsivity which leads to overactivity, poor cognitive control, uncontrolled tempers, and social disregard (Speranza). In a study conducted by the European Research Network on Borderline Personality Disorder (EURNET BPD), ADHD can lead to the development of BPD, borderline personality disorder, later on in the patient’s lifetime. In their experiment, they had found that the aggression and impulsivity associated with adolescents experiencing ADHD in their younger years led to more predominant symptoms such as self mutilation, anger spurts, and possible advancements into depression. (Speranza). It would be different if this wasn’t such a commonly diagnosed problem.
In the words of Meika Loe, author of The Prescription of a New Generation, U.S. college students today are among the first to be raised in a society where prescription drugs are an everyday commodity – socially branded and advertised directly to consumers – not unlike cars and blue jeans. ADHD is a mental disorder that is directly affecting the younger generations and it is leading to more advanced neurological problems later on. The school system is mass producing these kids to be more controllable while they are in the classroom, which is doing nothing but causing their creative mentality to diminish.The ADHD epidemic can be related back to how schools are now beginning to decrease in the number of extracurricular activities. Over the past several years, the public school system has been experiencing drastic budget cuts, but have also been trying to increase the overall achievements of students academic capacity by increasing the SAT scores, GPA, and absence rate. Studies have found that students have experienced improvement rates in behavior, have begun getting better grades, have completed school, and have developed a more pronounced social aspect while they’re enrolled in some sort of alternative class(Erin). So why would the school system choose to get rid of these programs? The limits to the school’s funding has caused a mass need for budget cuts to be made, which in turn has caused many schools to stop upholding their extracurricular programs instead of firing their teachers to cover the budget loss.
As Mr. Eddy Zhong states, Over just these 5 to 6 years in the education system these creative children have turned into these teenagers that are unwilling to think outside of the box. Mr. Zhong used this in a speech conducted as a TED talk on the way schools make children less intelligent. He followed up his previous statement by saying that While school can make you more academically intelligent; it can teach you physics, algebra, calculus, it is diminishing the children’s creative intelligence. The reduction of schools extracurricular activities limits the amount of social expressiveness of these children and it is doing nothing but make kids feel more pressured that they have to be forced through this standardized grading structured environment where the only thing that helps them is the letter grade they get on their next history exam. Without expression, these children aren’t getting the creative thinking they need to be able to function in the classroom and in their social lives. Many people may argue that the schools aren’t the problem with the way ADHD is being diagnosed in the United States. ADHD is not a neurological disorder specifically found in younger generations, however ADHD is much more commonly found in adolescents in comparison.
The school system is promoting the anesthetic learning of students by trying to slow them down and focus on the same repetitive things they have been teaching for years. For example in his opening speech, Mr. Stephen Toni had taken a different approach to the topic. He starts out, My name is Stephen Tonti and I have ADHD and I was first diagnosed with ADHD not by a diagnostician, or private practice, or a pediatrician, but by a second grade teacher. Mr. Tonti was giving a speech on how ADHD is a difference in the cognitive thinking of a person not a disorder. Mr. Tonti had actually been rejected for his acceptance to the same middle school at which the teacher worked at because he had ADHD. The problem with ADHD is not the disorder itself, it’s the concept that have been adapted over time to try and sedate and mask the thinking of people with ADHD, simply because they differ from us in the way they think. Mr. Tonti had covered the concept of ADHD from the perspective of someone who lives with this disorder, and he describes it differently from just the textbook definition of how someone with ADHD thinks. People with ADHD aren’t necessarily always going to be out of focus from what they need to be working on, but when they find something they are good at and can really put attention into, they show full concentration, and this is what seems to be missing from nearly every research paper done by any random psychiatrist who just happened to do a survey on a select few people.
The school system is trying their best to keep their standards up for the schools benefit because if progress isn’t shown then there will be trouble on their hands, and they aren’t focusing on trying to figure out what is most beneficial to the students, instead they are trying to find out the quickest and easiest solution to keep their students on track and ready to pay attention to their boring lecture. Overall, ADHD is still a growing problem that only seems to be getting worse, and drugging up these adolescents in order to get them to deactivate and slow down is doing nothing but decaying their creativity and demobilizing their capacity to handle problems by themselves. The school system puts a label on these students and picks and chooses whether they want to deal with the hassle of trying to keep them on their medication or not when they should be thinking about how they could try and find something that these adolescents can focus on and really put their best interest into. The problem is that they aren’t trying to solve the problem, they are just sedating it.
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